We received an overwhelming number of nominations from colleagues and residents at Keith Turnbull Place for Rita English, who celebrates 30 years as a dining room attendant this month.
A fixture of the Keith Turnbull Place food services team, Rita was the clear winner this month - staying as committed and passionate about her job as she was on her first day.
Now entering her 70s Rita shows no signs of slowing down. Her motto is: “you are never too old to learn”, an attitude that her fellow colleagues find inspiring. Add to that Rita’s ability to adjust to change and embrace new ideas, and you have the recipe for a constantly innovating food experience for residents.
Manager client services Anna Dube describes Rita as someone who is loved and respected by all of the staff, as well as the residents.
“She is practical, hardworking and loyal - always ready to implement changes or come up with innovative ideas for continuous improvement,” Anna said.
“In 2014, Rita made a suggestion to improve the quality of our table settings because she had observed that some staff were not setting them correctly, and some were just down right sloppy.
“Rita came up with an idea to take a photo of how each meal time table should be set, so that people who are visual learners could see exactly how it should look. We put the photos in each dining room for everyone to follow.
“It was such a simple but excellent contribution, which promoted consistency and is beneficial for the residents and our overall service delivery. It was so successful we incorporated in the hospitality training that we provide.”
As a result of her bright idea Rita was nominated, and later won, the Queensland Food Service Assistant of the Year award in 2014.
Day to day, Rita uses her extensive knowledge and experience in her role as a senior trainer for new staff coming into the dining rooms.
“Rita is an excellent trainer, her caring nature and positive attitude puts the new staff at ease and her professionalism and pride she takes in her work is obvious to all who come into contact with her,” Anna said.
“30 years of service in the aged care hospitality sector is a major achievement and for me, Rita exemplifies what an Ozheart is – a person who displays respect, compassion, and excellence on a daily basis.”